Getting rid of clutter is the #1 way to increase your productivity, save time, and make more money.
Because a clutter-filled workspace forces you to spend hours per week searching for lost items instead of actually running your business. While you’re digging through a pile of receipts wondering where the heck you put that expense report, the competition is busy wooing your customers and closing deals.
Not to mention the fact that clutter can sap your energy, making you feel tired and unmotivated, which in turn translates to missed business opportunities and sluggish sales.
Here are our top 7 ways to make getting rid of clutter quick, easy, and painless:
1. Skip the “marathon session”
You may be tempted to spend an entire Saturday cleaning out the office – don’t do it! Instead, spend 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day de-cluttering. Accumulated clutter is a habit that needs to be broken, not a one-time problem that can be fixed in a single swipe. Small changes made consistently are much more likely to last long-term.
2. Go paperless
The bulk of your clutter is most likely caused by scraps of paper and hard copies left lying around your workspace. Use a receipt scanning software program like Shoeboxed to digitize all of your receipts, reports, bank statements and business cards.
3. Give everyone a “home”
If you have a scissors, a stapler, and a bottle of White-out, you should have a “home” for your scissors, stapler, and bottle of White-out. Each item, no matter how small, should have a place to live. At the end of each day, make sure that each item is returned to its proper home, ensuring you’ll return to a de-cluttered office the following day.
4. Ditch the filing cabinet
You probably don’t need to hang on to half of the old documents you’re currently storing in your office, even if they’re important financial statements. The IRS accepts digitized copies of almost everything nowadays, so unless it’s your will or the deed to your property, scan it and recycle it.
5. Work as a team
Getting rid of clutter has to be a team effort. If there is more than one person working in your office, make sure everyone is on board with the plan to get and stay clutter-free.
6. Prevent “trackback clutter”
As a small business owner, you and your team members most likely spend a fair amount of time outside the office. Whether you’re meeting with clients, visiting another job site, or traveling for business, coming and going from the office makes it difficult to prevent “trackback clutter” – the kind of clutter that is dragged in off the street like a stray cat.
Train yourself and your staff to scan their receipts and digitize their reports before they return to the office, preventing new clutter from entering your space every time someone enters the office.
Shoeboxed has a great receipt scanning app that lets you take a photo of a receipt right from your smartphone, and then beam that receipt to your Shoeboxed account. With apps like these, there is no reason for receipts, expense reports, or paper of any kind to collect in your workspace.
7. Hold a fire drill
Whenever needed, hold an emergency clutter fire drill in your office – have everyone stop what they’re doing and spend the next 5 to 10 minutes scanning, digitizing, recycling, and filing.